Day 4: August 30, 2011
Locking and Unlocking
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...and I say it's all right.

Here are a couple more shots of the Mackinac Bridge from the south side (LP?) I took before I made the crossing. Once I'd crossed over, I made my way to Bridge View Park to see the bridge from the north side. Wow! It really looks different don't you think?

The first picture is something I really haven't seen much of this trip. The open two-lane of MI-134 and MI-129 was very welcome. The other two pictures may or may not be of the Dixie Highway's northern terminus. I honestly don't know where the terminus is. I used mostly Robert Droz's site in plotting my course. Describing a southbound journey, it says "Start in Sault Ste. Marie, MI and follow MI-129 south to Cedarville, MI". Today MI-129 officially ends about 1.75 miles south of here when it reaches the I-75 Business Route. MI-129 enters Sault Ste Marie on Ashmun Street and I just followed that to its end and that is here at Water Street. I believe I-75B ends or turns a block earlier at Portage. So I can't seriously claim that the torn up street in the picture is the last block of the Dixie Highway but I pretended it was. The guardhouse is at an employee entrance to the lock area.

About a block west of Ashmun there is a "civilian" entrance to a park area that borders the locks. I parked and walked in. A big fence keeps folks from getting too close to the locks. I slipped my camera between the bars to snap a picture of some lock gates but that was about it. I was disappointed but it was my own fault. I did climb some steps to the west but the way appeared to be blocked so I turned back. The blocking was an illusion and had I gone around another corner or two I'd have eventually reached the viewing area above the locks. I'd get there later.

I decided to try one of the Soo Lock Boat Tours and caught one just about to leave. No waiting required. We headed straight for the very lock I had stuck my arm through the fence to photograph. Among the many things I learned on the cruise was that, had I persisted another fifty yards or so, I'd have had a great view of the lock from a raised viewing area. This is the MacArthur Lock, built in a record 14 months in 1942 to aid the transport of raw materials for the war effort.

The lock is empty when we enter as we will be going up from Lake Huron level to Lake Superior level. The lock fills quickly and in a matter of minutes the gates open with the boat about 21 feet higher. The last picture shows the lock area and International Bridge behind us as we spend a little time sightseeing.

Our return is through the Canadian Lock. After a 200 foot section of a wall shifted about four inches in 1987, a smaller lock was built inside the original lock for the use of smaller craft. Our 65 foot boat qualifies. As we are now going down, the lock is filled when we enter and the difference in water levels is easier to see. Water swirls down the drains until we are back at our original level.

The Lock View Restaurant is just one of several places cyber-friend Gary recommended. Maybe I'll do a summary later. They are know for their whitefish and on "two way Tuesday" you can get a half & half. I ordered broiled, which seems to be the most popular, and pan fried. Both excellent. I walked up the street to the new (established 2011) brewery for an after dinner drink. I did the "house beer" which was a bit more fruity than I like but still good. I almost always prefer a beer with personality to one with none.

The instant I checked into my motel, I saw a big boat entering the lock and, knowing now about that viewing area, headed over to watch the proceedings. This cargo ship just about fills the lock. The raising of the ship is certainly apparent as the deck goes from being level with the ground to far above it.

That motel I checked into is the Longships which is just across the street from the locks. I got pictures of the inside last night but failed to shoot the outside. I had to use one I got this (Wednesday) morning in a light drizzle.

After learning that I'd enjoyed the whitefish at Lock View, cyber friend Gary suggested a malt or a shake at Clyde's Drive-In and I went for it. The frosty malt wasn't all that remarkable but Clyde's is. A true classic that deserves a return visit for a 'burger.

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